Chocolate Chip Cookies and Vanilla Blondies

Vanilla blondie? Or chocolate chip cookie Bar? You decide.

First- thank you all for your kind and compassionate wishes for a speedy recovery from emergency hip surgery. Such fabulous readers you are- every one of you. As our Italian friend, Sandra, once said to us- in her dead gorgeous Tuscan accent-  

I love you too much!

I feel human again. Yesterday (day nine post-surgery) this sticky, prickly goddess got to sit inside the shower (they make these nifty portable shower seats now) and- Aphrodite-blessed relief!- indulge in twenty sexy minutes of hot steamy bliss. Hawaiian shampoo. Rainbath lather. Leg shaving!

One lesson a broken hip teaches you? It's the little things in life that count. The simple luxury of taking a shower shoots to gold star status- the genuine, beyond spectacular highlight of the day. Pulling on a soft clean shirt? Heaven. Sitting upright, freshly shampooed and moisturized with Eternity lotion? Divine. Twirling pasta in olive oil and garlic- in bed- next to your husband? It doesn't get any better than this.

And then there are chocolate chip cookies (that are egg-free and dairy-free- earning them treasured vegan status). They also happen to be gluten-free, wheat-free, bean-free, soy-free and nut-free. Perfect for all those cute-as-a-button multi-allergic tykes out there. Not to mention, gluten-free vegan goddesses.

Last night Steve helped me make these as cookie bars, in the style of my old tried and true favorite chocolate chip cookie bar recipe- and, Babycakes, they were a damn good match. I named them Vanilla Brownies. My trick was a small cheat. A dab of butter flavor extract. I don't usually turn to artificial flavors (in fact, this is a first for me), but when you are allergic to most natural flavors and buckets of other foods and your taste buds crave a buttery sweet treat, this decidedly un-foodie goddess figures--- Why the Hades not? But if it horrifies you to use it, Darling Reader- and just the very thought of it keeps you up at night worrying about the integrity of the cookie universe- leave it out. It's one quarter of a teaspoon. Sub it with vanilla. Do your thing. 

It's all good.

Chocolate Chip Cookies and Vanilla Brownies Blondies - A Recipe That Swings Both Ways

I use a combo of sorghum and buckwheat in my current flour mix. Feel free to substitute your own favorite flour blend. More starchy blends may effect the texture, however. * See notes.


3/4 cup sorghum flour or GF buckwheat flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour- or millet flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca or corn starch
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup organic coconut oil or Spectrum Organic Shortening
1 1/4 cups organic light brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons raw agave nectar or honey
5-6 tablespoons vanilla non-dairy milk- as needed
1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with 4 tablespoons warm water till frothy
1 10-oz bag of dairy-free dark chocolate chips


Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients into the dry mix and stir till well combined. If the dough is way too stiff, add one tablespoon of rice milk at a time to soften. I ended up using 6 tablespoons of rice milk- but it is dry here in the high desert. Add a spoon at a time until the dough holds together- it should be sturdy and glossy.

Add the dairy-free chocolate chips. Stir to combine.

Chill the dough for at least an hour before baking the cookies.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Egg-Free Wheat-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

To Make Chocolate Chip Cookies:

Form the dough into 18 medium- or 36 petite- balls, rolling the dough between your palms. Place the dough balls onto a large baking sheet (non-stick, or lined with parchment paper) with enough breathing room to spread a couple of inches. Flatten the balls gently, slightly with your fingers or the back of a spoon- but not too much, or the cookies may spread into flat pancakes.

Bake in the center of a preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or so, depending on the size- until the cookies puff, crack and are firm to a light touch. Cool a minute or two before removing them with a thin spatula to a wire cooling rack.

To Make Vanilla Brownies:

Plop the dough (recipe above) into a 9x13-inch baking pan lined with greased foil, and spread the dough evenly. Bake in the center of a preheated oven for 22 to 25 minutes, until the center is firm to the touch and a wooden pick inserted into the brownies emerges clean.

Makes 18 generous brownies.

Karina's Notes:

A note on gluten-free flour blends- My basic all-purpose gluten-free flour mix is a specific blend due to multiple allergies (no almond, bean or soy flours). After experimenting with the remaining gluten-free flours I could use, this is the mix I like best: for two cups flour, I use a cup of sorghum with half a cup each of buckwheat, white rice millet and potato starch, and 1 teaspoon xanthan gum added.

For crisper cookies use more potato starch, less millet and buckwheat flour.

Dear Readers, if you'd prefer to use eggs and dairy in a cookie bar recipe, try my distinctly delicious Chocolate Chip Cookie Squares recipe.


    Kalyn said...

    "just the very thought of it keeps you up at night worrying about the integrity of the cookie universe"

    You are a scream! So glad to see you back again! It must be a good sign when you can still write like this.

    Slacker Mom (aka Mrs. GF) said...

    These look so good! I can't believe you achieved such success with so many limitations.

    You rock. Completely!!

    So many people will love this recipe. Great job. :)

    Gluti Girl said...

    It sounds like you are doing well. I can relate so much to your shower experience. I had surgery 2 years ago and I swear I will never forgot the first day I could get in the shower! The cookies look awful good too. Now I'm going to have to go make some cookies!

    Glutenfree2 said...

    These are such great and versatile recipes Karina. Thank you so much, I now have something that I can bake up and take along to an up and coming family birthday party that I can enjoy and share with others instead standing by and watching everyone enjoy the birthday cake and secretly sinking inside.

    Glad that you are feeling well enough to write again. I have to admit that every day I would visit your site with anticipation. I heart the way that you write;it makes me laugh, sometimes cry (the one about love nailed it right on the head)and even sometimes just makes me look at things differently.(A good thing). I will keep sending you healing thoughts and prayers as you are such an inspiration to all of us.


    byebyegluten. said...

    karina, hope that you continue to heal well and that your spirits are high! i was actually going to make your chocolate chip cookie squares today and try subbing agave and taking out the dairy and then voila! you beat me to it :) so thank you a million times for all your recipes, as they continue to keep my own spirit lifted as i struggle with my allergies and giving up/subbing old favorites.

    Hannah said...

    Mmm, those cookies look incredible! And the fact that they're gluten free only adds to their appeal. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe- This is definitely one I'll be saving to share with my gluten-sensitive friends!

    Kleja said...

    Oh my god! I am so dying for these recipes! I just got my blood tests back and I am now dairy, egg, tomato, bell pepper, zucchini, sesame, sugar cane, yeast, almond, pineapple, blueberry, and gluten free! I've been handling the main meals pretty well but dessert - not so good. So, thank you - I am saved!

    Carrie said...

    Yum oh Yum! I am amazed at how much you are accomplishing so quickly!! That is so wonderful and those cookies look so incredibly warm and cozy! I will never tell you used butter flavoring! ;-P I've used it in years past before my gluten-free days in butter poundcakes! Cut the butter in half, and yet nobody noticed! I love the stuff! ;-) Get much better soon dear girl!

    KimS said...

    Oh my goodness Karina!!!

    I've been really lax with my blog and busy with other things... then decided on adding a few things to it... including other blogs I like to read when I get the chance (because they are phenomenally useful)...

    Obviously I don't get the chance quite enough! I came to add your blog to my list and POW! I find out you've really gone over the top this time!

    Well lady, I hope that you are doing as well as can be expected.

    Never the flunky, I see you are right back at your blogging asap.

    I'll be keeping you in my prayers of pure healing.... you Goddess you... ;)

    Cheryl Finley: said...

    Hi Karina,
    Wow! These look scrumptious, and I can't wait to make them this season. I have to be very careful, leaving me alone with chocolate chip cookes (my favorite)is not a good idea : ) and this vegan recipie is in alignment with my healthier eating. Thank you! I'll let you know how it goes when I make one of your recipes.
    And...take good care recovering : )...yes, the little things..are indeed big ones in life.
    : ) Cheryl

    By the way, I found your blog via Kelly's blog. : )

    Cindy said...

    These look quite appetizing right now! I must say I did the brownie thing for breakfast over the weekend and I see why you made those previously :)

    It's great that you're feeling more refreshed. I think skipping a shower for a few days is a better thing for people to give up for Lent than chocolate or beer.

    Oh, and the espresso dark chocolate cake I made based on your flourless chocolate cake was a smash! Everyone adored it and it was suggested as our wedding cake, so thank you! I know you can't do the eggs and probably not the vegan butter (it has flax oil in it, I believe), but at least we could spread the love.


    Alison said...

    Thanks for this recipe - this will be perfect for my daughter and her multiple allergies! The bars look so good. I am quite lacking in recipes on my site - I need to link to this one soon! Hope you are doing ok.

    Miss Diane said...

    Hi, I discovered your blog tonight and I realize that there are now two of us, I mean "gluten-free goddess". My husband has celiac disease and we both are lactose intolerant. I invite you to visit my blog :

    I fall for your cookies...

    Karina said...

    Hi Julie! Thank you--- you made my day! xoxo

    Hey ByeByeGluten! I'm so glad- and don't you love agave? I want to use more of it in my baking.

    Thanks, Hannah- my pleasure.

    Kleja- Whoa, girl! I'm here for ya- if I can help- give me a shout. Hang in there- and the good news is- you WILL feel better. Trust me. xoxo

    Carrie- LOL! Yay. Butter flavor girls unite!

    Hola Kim! So great to see you- yeah. Shit happens, right? ;) Glad you stopped by. Hugs to the family. xoxo

    Hi Cheryl- Great! Welcome. And as for the chocolate chip cookies/vanilla brownies- I hear ya. I wrap and freeze them- so I don't eat them all at once- that's my strategy. :)

    Hello Cindy! Oh- that Flourless Chocolate Cake- I miss it! Glad it was a hit!

    Hi Alison- Thanks- I'm better every day. Getting a little restless- but I am behaving. ;)

    I'll be posting more allergen free goodies soon- brownies, and a banana bread, and pumpkin muffins- all egg-free, dairy-free...well, everything-free. Stay tuned!

    Welcome Diane!

    Thank you all- again- for your supportive kind words- I heart every message.


    elsepeth27 said...

    These look amazing! I was considering giving making cookies a shot yesterday, but I have to get to the store to get chocolate chips. And now I don't have to worry about wasting precious gf-flour on tweaking recipes that might not work. :) (Though as holidays approach, I will be trying and tweaking lots of recipes.)

    I just have two questions: What is agave nectar? And can I substitute something (like honey?) for it? I have heard of it, but have never seen it in my miles-from-any-city, central New York town.

    Karina said...

    Hi Elsepeth27-

    Yes, you can use honey instead, if you like. I find adding agave or honey to egg-free recipes gives them a texture and binding boost.

    Have fun baking and tweaking! ;)


    Christian and Karina said...

    Thank you so much for a fantastic website- you are one clever "cookie"!

    Keep up the great work.- my name is Karina too!

    he kissed my hand said...

    I came by this site in search of some gluten-free and lactose-free recipies because i am running out of ideas of things to cook for my boyfriend (not that he asks me to cook). so i just wanted to THANK you for this! I can make him cookies he can eat!!

    This makes me really excited to try out. and i will try it soon!

    thank you again.

    Patti A. said...

    These cookies are amazing. Thanks!

    Sue said...

    I offer my apology in advance if you've already answered this question elsewhere. I'm new to the gluten free world. What does xanthum gum do for gluten free baked goods?
    I'm itchin to try some gluten free baked goods.

    Karina said...

    Hi Sue- Xanthan gum gives non-stretchy gluten-free flours more "give". It's a vegetable gum that silkens and stretches and improves viscosity.

    For more baking tips see Karina's Gluten-Free Baking Tips link (in the side bar).


    hoopyscoopsmom said...

    Hi Karina
    Thank you so much for your blog. I am gluten, dairy, soy, yeast, peanut, bean, and most spices free. I could go on but won't. I have tried several recipes from your blog and they are always wonderful. I am learning (with a great sense of humor and to the amuement of my gracious husband who tastes everything for me) to use subs that work for me. I do not ususally crave sweets or desserts, but recently have been dying for a chocolate chip cookie. And lo and behold I found this recipe on your blog. My question is about the xantham gum. I have severe mold allergies and have learned that xantham gum along with vinegars and yeast are evil. Is there something I can use to replace the xantham gum? I am also new to baking so I am also just learning how all these ingredients work together.

    Karina Allrich said...

    Hi Hoopyscoopsmom- I feel your pain. ;) Okay- first, a good sub for vinegar in any of my recipes is fresh lemon or lime juice (hopefully you can do citrus?).

    For yeast- can you do any sort of baking powder or bicarbonate?

    Xanthan gum- I'd try thinking about honey or agave- can you do either? A tablespoon will help batter and doughs "stick".

    Also flax gel. Or an egg white.

    Or 1/4 cup mashed banana.

    Fruit pectin?

    Guar gum is a bean- I'm allergic to beans so can't handle guar.

    Some say use a teaspoon of gelatin (though, not vegan).

    Hope that helps.


    hoopyscoopsmom said...

    Thanks, Karina!

    Awesome! I could not wait to try these, the first batch I ruined, there went my dairy free chocolate chips, ugh! I wonder why there isn't a 24 hour health food store around when you need them? But I was not giving up so easily, so I made them again with the dairy chips I had, and fed them to my gluten eating family. And, to my surprise they loved them, they didn't even know they were GF! Needless to say, I made these the next day with my dairy free chips and yummmm! They are awesome, I wrapped them and hoarded them in the corner of my freezer, they are mine! All mine! Thank you Karina for bringing a sweet treat back into my boring GF/CF (along with most other things) diet once again!

    Karina Allrich said...

    Hoopyscoopsmom- Fantastic! So- what substitute(s) did you try? Glad the second and third batch worked.

    Be well!


    hoopyscoopsmom said...

    Thanks! I substituted sorghum flour for the brown rice flour(can't do brown rice, and have yet to try buckwheat, I am a chicken when it comes to adding new things to my diet as am allergic to everything!)Then used white rice flour for my 2nd flour, and substituted honey for the xantham gum, a real egg, and honey instead of agave (again the never had so afraid to try it). I only needed about 3 tbs of vanilla rice milk. And they turned out great! Thanks again!

    cellardoor said...

    Sorry if this sounds dense (no pun intended) but I made this recipe and then re-read it... I can't figure out if it is necessary to chill the dough for an hour prior to making the brownies? Or just the cookies? Does it matter?
    Thanks and keep cooking! You have made my life so much tastier.

    Karina Allrich said...

    Hi Cellardoor- Generally, I don't chill dough for the bar/brownie version. Only for cookies.

    Good luck!


    Anonymous said...

    Hi...can't figure out how to post with my name...It's Jeanne here with another baking disaster :P!

    why are your cookies looking round and fluffy and beautiful and mine are flat :( The only difference i had was using palm sugar instead of brown sugar. Next time i may try Turbinado sugar. I really am trying to stay away from refined sugar as much as possible and this is as healthy of an alternative that i can find that still won't change the structure of the cookie. Or is it?.......

    What could i be doing wrong?

    Karina Allrich said...

    Hi Jeane- Choose "Name and Url" and fill in your name. As for the subs- I've never used palm sugar. Perhaps it has less structure. Turbinado is essentially no different than the organic brown sugar I use except for texture. Also- variance in oven temps can make a difference. Using parchment paper as a liner can also help. Chilling dough beforehand, too. Make sure baking powder/soda etc is fresh.

    Heather said...

    Hi Karina,
    I just made your cookies and wanted to let you know my substitutions.
    I substituted soy flour (to add protein) for sorghum
    I used 1/3 cup of oil and 2 eggs (instead of 1/2 cup and 1 egg replacement)
    I used 100g of dark 70% chocolate (dairy free)
    I used 1 cup of brown sugar and added more agave (to reduce the glycemic load of the cookies)
    and I used light soy milk instead of hemp milk.

    They have a great texture (though could probably be a bit sweeter).

    Thanks so much,

    PhyllisD said...

    I've just discovered your site looking for bread recipes. Stumbled on the cookie recipes...what do you recommend as a substitute for 1.5 Cup brown sugar?

    Karina Allrich said...

    Sugar gives cookies and cookie bars that delightful caramelized texture and structure.

    If I was to attempt subbing the brown sugar I might try palm sugar (lower glycemic) or xylitol (neither of which I've used but readers have mentioned using).

    You could try using agave or honey (you didn't mention why you do not want to use sugar- allergy? Calories? Glycemic issue?) but note the liquid sweetener will change the recipe into a softer more muffin-like texture.

    See my post on sugar substitutes for more detailed options (link on FAQ page).


    Gluten-Free Goddess eBook on iTunes